By Jack Latta
July 25, 2013
MARTIN — Several people attending Tuesday’s Martin City Council meeting expressed displeasure with a recent appointment to the housing board.
City council members listened as Karon Robinson, who sits on a Senior Citizens Advisory Board for the Martin Area, expressed displeasure with the appointment of former Martin Mayor Alan Whicker to the Housing Board. Robinson sent letters to Mayor Sam Howell and each of the council members in which she stated that Whicker had been “… contacting me with inappropriate behavior and in a belligerent manner.”
Whicker, who was voted to the position of chairman of the housing board, also sits on the senior citizens board, and Robinson also says that Whicker has been rude, argumentative, and shown a general disrespect to the other members of the board.
Robinson says that Whicker has been extremely caustic when speaking to the senior members of the board.
“We have seniors who have liked coming to that center, who don’t like being spoken to that way, or like seeing their fellow man spoken to that way,” said Robinson. “The people who make up that board are here for the best.”
Whicker says the matter largely springs from political feuds. He says that Robinson, sister-in-law to former mayor Thomasine Robinson, is angry with him because he was appointed to a position on the housing board which she had held during her sister-in-law’s tenure as mayor.
Whicker admits that he speaks plainly, and that meetings can become heated, but adds that this is typical of such meetings.
“If I think something is wrong, I’m going to tell you,” Whicker said, though he adds that he is a Christian and isn’t intentionally disrespectful to other board members.
Howell urged city council members to avoid any discussion of the matter because it relates to the housing board, and not to the city council. Council member April Gayheart said that Whicker was a council appointment, and that makes them at least partly responsible for the problems.
Robinson said that she had brought tape recordings of meeting minutes as evidence of Whicker’s behavior, though the council refused to listen to the recordings. Howell said the city must wait and consult with its attorney before commenting on anything related to the board meetings.
Whicker told The Times on Thursday that he denies the allegations made by Robinson, and has retained an attorney to address the complaints, as well as address the “unprovoked slander” of Whicker.